Nortel will become the first major vendor to leave the Ingram Micro stable following the distributor's acquisition of Tech Pacific at the end of last year.
General manager of enterprise networks for Nortel A/NZ, Nick Avakian, said the Ingram partnership would be terminated by mutual consent during the next few weeks.
Concerns about product focus had been prominent in its decision to look elsewhere, he said.
"Ingram Micro is broad-based with something like 100 vendors," he said. "From a Nortel perspective, we want to maximise focus on our own channel."
But Ingram sales director, John Walters, insisted this should not have been an issue because the distributor had resourced up as part of the merger.
"We are really only adding another 15 or so non-common vendors to the old Tech Pac model and have an enlarged product management team," he said.
"Nortel talked to the new Ingram management team but we couldn't give them the focus they wanted."
Nortel was not a significant part of Ingram's revenues, he said, and a replacement vendor would not be sought. Its networking line-up still includes Juniper, D-Link, 3Com, Netgear, NetComm and Belkin.
The networking vendor is currently reviewing its distribution strategy, with the positions of LAN Systems and Express Data (ED) also coming under scrutiny. While Nortel is a key component of the LAN portfolio, its future with ED looks less secure.
Express Data managing director, Ross Cochrane, said his company was also having a serious look at its 15-year relationship with Nortel. ED also carries Cisco and Allied Telesyn networking gear.
"Nortel is taking a more direct approach with its resellers," Cochrane said. "This is an area of concern for us that we are trying to clarify."
While Avakian pointed to a need for distributors to place greater emphasis on its products, Cochrane said this buck stopped with the manufacturer.
"A vendor is responsible for creating end-user demand," he said. "Nortel doesn't have enough brand awareness."
LAN Systems general manager, Wendy O'Keeffe, was not surprised to hear Ingram's relationship with Nortel was to end.
"From an Ingram perspective, I can fully appreciate that it is difficult to give a vendor the necessary focus when it accounts for less than one per cent of your income," she said.
O'Keeffe said she was confident of retaining a distribution contract with Nortel because it was one of her big four vendors. Other networking companies on the books include Cisco, 3Com and Avaya.
In the meantime, Nortel has announced a new partnership with cabling specialist, Anixter.
The appointment of Anixter as a Nortel distributor comes on the back of a global relationship between the two companies.
The deal was a significant one for Anixter, according to its managing director, Wayne Bogart.
"Nortel will become the flagship product of our range," he said.
SMB-targeted DCM products would be the initial focus, Bogart said.
Two extra staff would be hired to support the brand.